Diabetes: The Importance of Exercise for Prevention and Management
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition where the body is unable to automatically regulate the blood glucose levels which means that the levels of sugar in the blood are too high.
With TYPE 1 Diabetes the pancreas cannot make insulin because the cells that produce it have been destroyed. With TYPE 2 Diabetes the pancreas does make insulin but the insulin does not work so well so it needs to produce more.
Did You Know?
• 280 Australians develop diabetes every day.
• Over 100,000 Australians have developed diabetes in the past year.
• Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia.
• Over 1.2 million Australians currently have diagnosed diabetes.
• The Central Coast Community Health Survey 2014 estimated that of Central Coast adults aged 18 years and over 10% had been told by a doctor or hospital they had diabetes and of these, 75% have type 2 diabetes.
These statistics are forever rising and our Accredited Exercise Physiologists, share insights on how exercise can be a powerful tool for prevention and management of diabetes and has designed a program to specifically cater to diabetes sufferers.
Mental Health and Diabetes
Mental health conditions are a common comorbidity in patients with chronic disease, especially diabetes. A recent study highlighted 1 in 5 patients living with Type 2 diabetes had a mental health condition and this was associated with poorer health outcomes. Reduced quality of life due to complications, fear of long term complications and diabetes stigma are just a few factors that may influence an individual’s mental wellbeing.
“There are many reasons someone might feel stigma. It can be because they feel misunderstood, judged, blamed or even made to feel guilty about their diabetes. Mentally this can be a lot to deal with, and can impact how someone manages their diabetes. This can have a flow on effect to their physical and emotional health.
It can lead to people not sharing their diagnosis with others, getting the help and support they need, being interested to learn more about their diabetes or doing what they need to do each day to manage their diabetes and stay well.”
– Diabetes Australia (NSW & ACT)
Exercise is an effective tool used not only in the management of diabetes but has also been shown to have a significant effect on improving depressive symptoms in those living with chronic diseases. The focus on exercise aims to increase functional outcomes in individuals which can lead to feelings of accomplishment and therefore increased mood and self-esteem.
Why Exercise is Important for Prevention and Management of Diabetes
There is compelling evidence that Type 2 Diabetes is more likely to develop in individuals who are sedentary.
Exercise is a cornerstone treatment of diabetes alongside diet and medication. The goal for treatment of diabetes is blood glucose control. Exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of diabetic complications such as cardiovascular disease; peripheral artery disease; neuropathy and retinopathy.
Exercise is effective in blood glucose control because it enhances the effectiveness of the insulin which means that more glucose then gets transported to the cells and less is left in the blood.
How Much Exercise?
Based on the evidence it is recommended that patients with type 2 Diabetes accumulate a minimum of 210 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 125 minutes vigorous exercise per week with no more than 2 consecutive days without training.
It is also recommended that due to the high rate of conditions associated with Diabetes that patients should be supervised by appropriately qualified professionals to prescribe and deliver suitable exercises.
The Benefits of Exercise on Diabetes:
• Increased Insulin sensitivity
• Decreased HBA1C% (recent study shows a 1.09% decrease in 6 months of combined aerobic and resistance training 3x per week!)**
• Increased muscle mass increases GLUT-4 mediated glucose uptake
• Decreased Fat mass
• Decreased cardiovascular risk factors e.g Hypertension
**This may not sound like much but a 1% decrease in HBA1C can reduce risk of heart disease by 15-20% and vascular complications by 37%.
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